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close this bookAppropriate Building Materials: a Catalogue of Potential Solutions (SKAT; 1988; 430 pages)
View the documentPreface
Open this folder and view contentsIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsFundamental information on building materials
Open this folder and view contentsFundamental information on building elements
Open this folder and view contentsFundamental information on protective measures
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of foundation materials
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of floor materials
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of wall materials
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of roof materials
close this folderExamples of building systems
View the documentMud brick vaults and domes
View the documentEarthquake resistant mud/bamboo structures
View the documentAdobe brick house
View the documentModular framed earth block construction
View the documentLok Bild system
View the documentConcrete panel house
View the documentFerrocement housing units
View the documentFibracreto building system
View the documentBamboocrete construction
View the documentBamboo houses
View the documentPrefabricated timber hut
View the documentPrefabricated wooden house
View the documentTimber houses for flood areas
View the documentRha-lime prototype house
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexes

Bamboo houses


Special properties

High strenght, flexibility, numerous designs possible

Economical aspects

Low to medium costs



Skills required

Traditional bamboo craftmanship

Equipment required

Tools for cutting, splitting, tying bamboo

Resistance to earthquake

Very good

Resistance to hurricane


Resistance to rain

Depends on protective measures

Resistance to insects


Climatic suitability

Warm humid climates

Stage of experience



• The examples of bamboo houses shown on the following pages are taken from the excellently illustrated bamboo construction manual by Oscar Hidalgo Lopez (Bibl. 24.07).

• All the structural components and most of the non-structural parts (floors and wall cladding) are made of bamboo. Only very little timber is used and the roof covering can be of any suitable, locally available material (eg thatch, fibre concrete, ferrocement, metal sheeting, cement mortar, or even stabilized, water-resistant soil mortar).

• The bamboo components are joined either by means of lashing materials, dowels, bolts or nails. A great number of possible bamboo connections is shown in the construction manual.

• On account of its low resistance to biological attack and fire, protective measures are necessary (see section on Bamboo).

Further information: Oscar Hidalgo Lopez, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Apartado Aereo 54118, Bogota, Colombia.

Construction of a Coffee Plant (also suitable for dwelling) (Bibl. 24.07)

Positioning of the supports and erecting the structural framework

Fixing the rafters and construction of upper and lower floors (upper floor and wall cladding with split-bamboo or wooden laths, lower floor covered with stabilized rammed earth).

Bracing of roof structure and completion of roof covering (first with split-bamboo or wooden laths, fixed with nails and wire, then covered with cement mortar, stabilized waterproof mud mortar or thatch).

Bamboo Structure with Prefabricated Space Frame Roof (Wooden boards serve as template and temporary bracing during prefabrication; the walls of the house are not necessarily made of bamboo).

Bamboo House on Stilts

Round House with Thatched Conical Roof (Structural stability is obtained by a bamboo tension ring along the top of the bamboo columns).

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